June 13, 2018 | The refusal of the Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) Committee at the United Nations to grant consultative status to the German Konrad Adenaur Foundation, has exposed a political foundation that is trying to become an NGO, despite the fact that, on its own website, it describes itself as the former.
KAS’ request to the NGO Committee generated plenty of controversy and, according to a press report published on the NGO Committee’s website on May 29, a rare vote was taken in which the NGO Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) not grant KAS consultative status. Ten members of the NGO Committee voted to deny consultative status, with two delegates abstaining. Only the United States, Israel, Turkey, Greece and Uruguay backed KAS’ bid.
There have been many questions about this political foundation but few answers from KAS, especially regarding its ties to organizations and persons responsible for violence and instability in Latin American countries such as Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela. This included the lack of clarifications to the Cuban delegation’s questions regarding KAS’ ties to the confessed terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who bragged before TV cameras of his responsibility for the explosion of a Cubana airliner that killed 73 people in 1976. Posada also told the media that he was involved in the 1997 terrorist bomb attempts in Havana hotels that killed 32-year old Italian Fabio di Celmo.
But KAS remains silent to Cuba’s questions and those of other delegations like Russia, who was also interested in knowing what projects this political foundation is developing in both countries. Cuba’s representative on the NGO Committee, exercising its legitimate right, asked KAS if the organization recognized Cuba’s sovereignty and its choice of political system and to explain the motives behind their actions against a member State of the United Nations, referring to meetings of various anti-Cuban groups organized by KAS in Mexico.
Various member states of the NGO Committee demanded additional information about financing, status of projects and associations. The Russian delegation called attention to the fact that KAS only applied for consultative status a year ago and there has not been sufficient time for the Committee to give due consideration to their request for consultative status, and requested that KAS provide the additional information that has been requested by the NGO Committee. This also brought to light the political nature of their strategic goals.
On the one hand, the Cuban delegation exposed the fact that KAS was a political foundation whose application for consultative status had already been considered twice in previous sessions of the NGO Committee during which KAS gave vague and evasive responses to questions they were asked, when they answered at all.
As a member of the NGO Committee, Cuba noted that it has a right to ask for clarification about KAS’ operations and goals, despite one of the delegations challenging Cuba’s right to ask such questions.
Cuba also expressed concern about the work of KAS’ office in Mexico that declares in it’s operational manual that one of it’s objectives is a democratic transition in Cuba. “In the best-case scenario, that demonstrated a total lack of knowledge about Cuba. In the worst case, it’s declared purpose was flagrant interference in Cuba and an attempt to subvert the constitutional order of a Member State,” according to the UN Press report quoting the Cuban delegation.
The Cuban delegation further emphasized agreement in Point 8 of the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Program of Action with the nonexistence of one sole model of democracy, or of a pre-established formula since democracy “is based on the, freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.”
Should an organization like KAS, with serious and legitimate concerns over its support of parties and foreign groups and its financing of destabilizing and regime change actions achieve consultative status even after its denial by the majority of the NGO Committee? According to the judgment of diplomatic sources it would be lamentable for the United Nations system to offer such recognition to an organization, after having put forth solid arguments proving its political activism against the stability of countries such as Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba and Russia. None of this is consistent with the principles of an NGO. Approval of their consultative status by a higher body, despite the refusal of the NGO Committee, could seriously affect the credibility of the multilateral body.
If anyone has any doubt whether KAS has or lacks the qualities to become a member of the NGO system, records are readily available to prove the history of the German Foundation.